A former Mission Viejo resident was booked Sunday night in Orange County Jail for allegedly driving drunk, driving the wrong way and killing a woman last May. He is facing murder charges and, if convicted, he could be sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison. He is expected to appear in court today to make his plea. This is not the defendant's first alcohol-related arrest.
It took longer than one would expect for the man to be booked and formally charged. According to a spokesperson from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the turnover is not quick in every DUI case. In this particular scenario, the Superior Court judge did not issue a warrant until January, even though the arrest took place eight months prior. There were also issues with the driver's toxicology reports, which delayed the investigation. Although this is a DUI case, the driver is facing murder charges, so his bail has been set at $1.1 million.
At the time of the accident, the defendant was driving a Ford F250 truck the wrong direction when he hit a white minivan. The driver of the minivan, a 36-year-old mother of three, died shortly after impact.
Investigators checked the defendant's phone records and found that he had left a voicemail on a former girlfriend's phone just prior to the accident. In the voicemail, he told the girl how drunk he was and that he was probably "going to die tonight."
When police arrived at the scene of the accident, the defendant was visibly intoxicated – eyes bloodshot and smelling of alcohol – and had also sustained serious injuries.